The First Major Snowfall of the Season Hits New York City

New York Gets Its First Major Snow Of The Season

On Friday night, a winter storm blasted across the Northeast, dumping the first heavy snowfall of the season on New York City and making the morning commute dangerous.

Snow fell severely in the New York region and parts of New England in the early morning hours, causing aircraft delays and cancellations at airports as well as slowed traffic and train service. Although schools in New York City stayed open, the storm caused school closures and delays around the region.

The city and its environs were blanketed in at least five inches of snow. According to the National Weather Service, Central Park in Manhattan had 5.5 inches of snow and La Guardia Airport in Queens had 8.4 inches at 7 a.m.

After urging commuters to remain off the roads and work from home if possible, elected officials began relaxing restrictions on driving on highways in the mid-morning. The New York subway system’s operator, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said technicians were working to keep trains and buses moving.

«If you absolutely must travel, exercise extreme caution, allow extra time, and double-check service status before leaving,» the authority urged on Friday morning.

Because of the storm, the authority’s Metro-North Railroad, which serves suburbs north of the city, was operating on a Saturday schedule. Because of smoke on the rails at the World Trade Center, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey cancelled all operations on the PATH commuter train line at 8 a.m. Some service was later restored by the agency.

Commuters waited for a train in the Bronx on Friday morning.

Commuters waited for a train in the Bronx on Friday morning.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the New York region that will last until noon, warning that roads will be slick and advising drivers to exercise caution.

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced a state of emergency at 10 p.m. Thursday and ordered state agencies to close until 11 a.m. He said there had been 90 accidents on the state’s roadways during the storm on Friday morning.

In an interview with News12 New Jersey, Mr Murphy remarked, «Roads are going to be hard.» But, unlike the ice storm that made the morning commute treacherous on Tuesday, he added «this storm has played out virtually exactly as it was predicted to play out.»

According to a spokesman for Eric Adams, the city’s new mayor, snowploughs were sweeping the streets of New York City for the first time this winter. A blizzard that dumped up to a foot of snow on sections of the Mid-Atlantic States, including Atlantic City and other regions along the New Jersey shore, missed the city earlier this week.

Mr Adams, who was sworn in on New Year’s Eve, faced an early challenge from the storm. At 4 a.m., he met with his emergency management team, according to the spokesman.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled at the three major airports serving New York City, but it was unclear how many of the cancellations were due to the storm. Airlines have cancelled thousands of flights across the country in recent weeks due to a lack of manpower, which has been exacerbated by the rapid spread of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.

Winter storm warnings have been issued for most of eastern Massachusetts and nearly all of Rhode Island in New England. A blizzard warning was issued for a region of Maine further north.

The Washington area, which had just received more than eight inches of snow a few days ago, was expected to receive another wave, with the Weather Service predicting up to four inches. Officials announced that federal offices in Washington would be closed on Friday.

Some school districts along the Interstate-95 corridor, already concerned about the rising number of Covid-19 cases, changed their schedules for Friday. Schools in Washington, D.C., will be closed due to the storm, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser. In Philadelphia, public schools were transitioning to remote learning, while in New Jersey, some districts were either closing for the day or working on a delayed schedule.

The current storm system follows a snowy storm that blanketed roadways in snow and ice, set new daily snowfall records, knocked out power for half a million people, clogged roads for miles, and stranded drivers overnight in their automobiles along I-95 south of Washington.

Overnight, the Boston area was blanketed with fine, fluffy snow, with accumulations of up to seven inches in some areas by Friday morning. The city was projected to receive 10 to 11 inches of snow, which happens «every year or so,» according to Bill Simpson, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

It was dangerous to drive. On some sections of the Massachusetts Turnpike, speed limits were reduced to 40 miles per hour, yet morning commuters reported crawling by spinouts and accidents as ploughs battled to keep up with the rapidly falling snow. Overnight, approximately 2,500 ploughs, front-end loaders, and other pieces of snow-clearing equipment were dispatched by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which asked motorists to stay off the roads.

By early Friday morning, Rhode Island had already begun to see severe precipitation, with snow coating roads and affecting morning commutes across the state. A few crashes were recorded on routes in Providence and Lincoln in the early morning hours, immediately after snow began to fall in the area, according to the state’s Department of Transportation.

Rhode Islanders were out shopping the night before the hurricane in preparation for it. By Thursday night, several shelves at East Side Market, a food store in Providence, were either empty or completely emptied.

Austin McDannell, 24, a worker at Bottles Fine Wine next door, said he observed more customers than normal come in during their lunch periods Thursday to pick up food. He said he didn’t know if the business would open on Friday morning, but that his fiancé’s employment at a beauty school in Cranston had already canceled work for the day, and that if he had to stay in his Providence home, he’d watch TV. He said, «There’s always Netflix.»

The school district in Westerly, a seaside city on the Connecticut border where forecasters projected 5 to 10 inches of snow during the storm, offered students and instructors a complete snow day with no remote learning, according to the school’s superintendent, Mark Garceau. Students are encouraged to «go sledging, construct a snowman,» according to a message on the school’s website.

The snowy weather comes as a lack of snowplough drivers afflicts the United States, from Montana to Colorado to Kentucky to Massachusetts, complicating snow removal efforts.

Officials have attributed the shortage to broader labour market conditions; truck drivers have been in high demand for years, and the industrywide deficit has recently hit record highs. The situation has worsened as a result of an increase in the Omicron variety, leading some snow plow drivers to call in ill.

Some communities are going to tremendous lengths to entice motorists. According to The Boston Globe, drivers with a commercial license in Watertown, Massachusetts, get paid $200 per hour, with rates rising to $310 if they have specialist equipment.

Ellen Barry of Boston, Colleen Cronin of Rhode Island, and Daniel Victor of London provided reporting.

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